Real Estate News, March 25-27, 2011

I take a few days off from reporting the latest and greatest news from the real estate world and my inbox overfloweth; here is a sampling of what’s going on in real estate:

The nation’s five largest U.S. mortgage service providers were asked by regulators in a private meeting chaired by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. this week to consider an industry-wide “cash-for-keys” program, in which they would pay borrowers who have stopped making their payments up to $21,000 each to leave their home (via REALTORMag):

Good Faith Estimate forms do not always provide borrowers with a complete picture of what they will be paying in costs for their loan at closing, mortgage industry experts warn (via REALTORMag):

Until recently, it took a rare combination of extreme bad luck and poor judgment for a homeowner to end up under water on his mortgage – that is, owing more than the house is worth. Today, nearly one out of four homeowners is facing exactly that situation. In response, banks and the government are rolling out new programs they say will help – that is, for homeowners who qualify (via

A fee increase on government-backed loans will raise mortgage payments starting next month. The Federal Housing Administration is raising the mortgage insurance premium by a quarter of a percentage point to 1.15 percent on 15-year and 30-year loans taken out on or after April 18 (via

Pawlenty shut down Islam-friendly mortgage program (via

Second life for Oakdale’s ghost mall:  Oakdale will pay nearly $7 million to start transforming the 20 acres into senior housing, retail and office space (via

A Fort Lauderdale, Fla. lawyer has agreed to pay the state $2 million to settle allegations of improprieties in mortgage foreclosure cases (via

A Cook County, Ill., court has temporarily halted at least 1,700 mortgage foreclosures because of altered documents, officials said (via

Neighborhood hit by mortgage crisis battles back (via

federal judge narrowed suits filed against Bank of America Corp. by BNP Paribas Mortgage Corp. and Deutsche Bank AG over hundreds of millions of dollars in losses on asset-backed commercial paper, dismissing some of the claims while allowing the cases to go forward (via

Fueled by a strange cocktail of legal theories, some Puget Sound-area homeowners facing foreclosure are slapping their lenders with multimillion-dollar “sweat equity” counterclaims and other measures promoted by shadowy consultants (via Seattle Times):

Change in law to further thin mortgage brokers’ ranks (via